California Governor Newsom (D) has signed into law AB 262, a bill that provides relief for people trafficked in labor or prostitution.
Pansy Watson, legal counsel with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), tells American Family News the Assembly bill will expunge records, including of crimes the victims were forced to commit. If that record remains on the books, she says it can cause some problems.
"It can keep them from being able to get quality housing, it can keep them from getting scholarships for education, [and] it could prevent them from getting licensing for professions that are much more economically sustainable than prostitution," Watson explains.
Without the law, prostitutes are more likely to return to the streets instead of becoming self-supporting taxpaying citizens.
"The vacatur is only for non-violent offenses and only from the time in which they were being trafficked," the NCOSE attorney notes. "It's fairly applied, and it makes it possible for trafficking victims to more easily access this relief."
The new law also helps provide stability in the victims' lives, so Watson says it is the type of measure all states should adopt.